PhD Studies | Criminology & Criminal Justice | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Dr. Kochel with grad student

Ph.D. Studies

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

All candidates for the Doctoral degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice are required to complete a minimum of 83 graduate credit hours.  The Graduate Committee will evaluate the academic records (i.e., transcripts and syllabi) of students with a master’s degree from another institution and/or in another discipline to determine whether some requirements in this program of study have been satisfied through the completion of comparable courses. The Graduate Committee will also have the discretion to count courses from other institutions and/or disciplines toward the Guided Electives requirement.

Core Courses (12 hours)

Doctoral students must complete 12 credit hours of core courses that include the following:

  • Three core courses:
    • CCJ 500 (Foundations of Criminal Justice)
    • CCJ 504 (Criminological Theory)
    • CCJ 505 (Nature of Crime)
  • One of the following:
    • CCJ 562 (Law and Social Control)
    • CCJ 576 (Policy Analysis in Criminal Justice)

Required Research Tools (12-15 hours)

The Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice is a research degree; students must learn the tools and methods of quantitative and/or qualitative research.  The minimum methodology requirement for Ph.D. students is 12 to 15 hours. The total number of required credits in this area depends on selected courses: some are 4 credit hours rather than 3 credit hours.  Students must have courses selected from the following:

  1. One from research design and methods: CCJ 510A, POLS 500A, or SOC 512A.
  2. One from statistics: CCJ 510B, or SOC 526A.
  3. One of the following: CCJ 517, POLS 500C, SOC 526B, CCJ 518, or SOC 514.
  4. One additional graduate methods course, chosen in consultation with advisor.

Guided Electives (32-35 hours)

The guided electives should be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor and committee to meet the career interests of the student. A minimum of 15 credits must be in criminology & criminal justice. Only 6 credits at the 400 level will be accepted in the combined degree program of M.A. and Ph.D. Students also may take up to 12 directed study credits for individualized instruction from faculty members on content not available in substantive courses (i.e., a specialized technique of analysis). Students are encouraged to consider the wide array of course offerings at SIU.

Residency Requirement (24 hours)

The residency requirement for the doctorate must be fulfilled after admission to the doctoral program and before formal admission to doctoral candidacy, which occurs with successful completion of the comprehensive examination. The residency requirement is satisfied by completion of 24 semester hours of graduate credit on campus as a doctoral student within a period not to exceed four calendar years. Only 6 pre-candidacy dissertation hours may be applied to this requirement.

Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive exams are required to advance to candidacy.  The exams will be offered every fall and spring semester.  The committee will grade the exam within 30 days and determine if the student has passed.  A final copy of the exam should be deposited with the graduate secretary.  In the event of a revision, only one revision is permitted per exam.  An oral defense of the revision may be required at the faculty’s discretion. 

Dissertation (24 hours)

Each candidate for the Ph.D. degree must write a dissertation showing high attainment in independent, original scholarship and creative effort. A total of 24 semester hours is required. A maximum of 8 hours of dissertation credit taken prior to passing the comprehensive examination will count; however only 6 of these hours will count toward the student’s doctoral residency requirement. The student must successfully defend orally his or her prospectus, giving the faculty two weeks to review the written prospectus before an oral defense, which shall be open to the public.  A student may not hold a dissertation prospectus meeting before successful completion of the comprehensive examination.

A dissertation must be written under the direction and approval of a four member committee of faculty possessing doctorates, one of whom must be from outside the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.  The student must successfully defend orally his or her final draft of the dissertation, giving the faculty two weeks to review the dissertation before an oral defense, which shall be open to the public.  The faculty are not required to meet for a prospectus or dissertation defense during holidays or summer months.  The success of a final oral examination devoted primarily to a defense of the dissertation and open to the public will complete the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. A final copy of the dissertation must be filed with the Department and Graduate School.